July 16, 2024

Dr. Mrs. Anita Garware

Our People on the Hills

We are happy to publish this article about Dr. Anita Garware, wife of industrialist Late Chandrakant Garware and daughter in law of Late  Padma Bhushan Abbasaheb Garware. She is a resident of our Hills and for over 50 years she has silently worked for social causes and for good of humanity without self promotion or publicity.

Dr Garware does not like to talk about her achievements, when we told her we are publishing this article she jokingly said, “My family has always laughed that I have never earned. I have only spent time, efforts and their hard earnings on social causes”.

Dr Garware, as Vice President of the Garware Foundation, established the University of Mumbai’s Garware Institute of Career Education and Development. This institute is well known in Mumbai to prepare students for a successful professional career and builds their overall personality. In appreciation of her efforts and dedication, the Chancellor of the University of Mumbai, Hon’ble Governor of Maharashtra, appointed her to the Senate of University of Mumbai for two 5-year terms.

From 1972 to 1989, she served as a trustee for the Fellowship of the Physically Handicapped (FPH), she took lead and constructed the ‘Garware Sabhagriha’ to augment income of FPH. From 1989 to 2017 she served as the Honorary General Secretary of the Society for the Rehabilitation of Crippled Children (SRCC), Mumbai. As a trustee of SRCC she was able to successfully redevelop the Children’s Orthopedic Hospital and established India’s premier world-class ‘SRCC Children’s Hospital’ in Haji Ali.

Rohini Haksar, President Emeritus of SRCC, Haji Ali praising Anita Garware said, “She was sincere and dedicated to the cause of SRCC, for the redevelopment of the SRCC Hospital she put in lot of hardwork to get the plans and various permissions”.

As Chairperson of the Indian Heritage Society-Mumbai (IHS), she has led several initiatives and made every effort to bring awareness of cultural and built heritage, and to carry it forward to future generations.

She initiated the annual ‘Banganga Festival’ in January 1992 to raise awareness of this stunning water reservoir built in the 12th century by the Shilhara Dynasty that ruled the islands. This ensured that the reservoir was designated as a heritage precinct and would not be filled to construct high-rise buildings on this historical tank. From 1994 to 2006, this was a much-anticipated international classical music event until the Bombay High Court’s order on sound limits forced it to be relocated to another location. Under IHS the effort to “Use Music to Save Heritage” continues as ‘Mumbai Sanskriti’ on the steps of the iconic Asiatic Library on the second weekend of January every year.

Alka Vanage, who retired as Senior Manager, Festivals, MTDC said “Banganga festival and conservation efforts were only possible because of Anita Garware’s hard work and persistence; there were many hurdles we had to overcome”.

In 1995, IHS, organized a ‘son et lumiere’, a light and sound show on the history of Mumbai using the heritage buildings of Mumbai University’s Fort campus, the Rajabai Clock Tower and its adjacent Library. This show contributed towards raising necessary funds for the campus building restoration. Later the restoration effort was also recognized and appreciated by the UNESCO.

Vijay Gupchup, ex- Pro Vice Chancellor, University of Mumbai, said “I have known Mrs Anita Garware for the past thirty years since the 1990’s when she was the Chancellor’s nominee on the Senate of the University of Mumbai and I was the then Pro Vice Chancellor. She has been passionate about working on various projects of importance, be they in the field of Education, Heritage Coservation or Cultural Activities. Her dedicated and selfless contribution to the restoration and renovation of the Rajabai Tower and the Library of the University, completion of the SRCC children’s hospital at Haji Ali, organisation of the Banganga Music festival and many more is truly noteworthy. It has been a privilege knowing Anita and I wish her well in all her future endeavours”.

In 2013, IHS started the ‘Art in the Park’ festival to use open spaces and bring local citizens together. This initiative promotes the idea of community participation regardless of economic class, culture or religion. This event is held at our Priyadarshini Park (PDP) every year and in 2019 it was also held at Ballard Estate in collaboration with Bombay Port Trust and Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai.

Ashok Barat, ex-President of the Bombay Chamber of Commerce & Industry said, “Anita Didi is the last of the generation who were not only knowledgeable about our heritage, but also willing to commit her time and energy in spreading that knowledge and preserving it for posterity”

In 2019, Dr. Ajeenkya D.Y.Patil University, Pune presented her with a Doctor of Letters, ‘Honoris Causa’, an Honorary Doctorate for her ‘outstanding contribution to children’s causes’ and ‘for dedicated contribution to the cause of healthcare, heritage and education’. 

Since 2015 she has been writing cover page articles for this publication ‘The Voice of Malabar Hills’ which tell a tale of Mumbai city about it’s past history and heritage. She has also conceptualised and co-ordinated publication of a coffee-table book for the Government of Maharashtra on the ‘Raj Bhavans of Maharashtra’ in 2002.

Lately she’s also helping St Elizabeth’s Hospital in their major redevelopment project to transform this hospital into a modern multi-specialty facility which will hugely benefit residents of our Malabar Hill.

Sister Sarla, CEO of St Elizabeth’s Hospital said “When we look at our dear Anita ma’am we see a woman who exudes great love with enthusiasm and dynamism and a wealth of academic vibrancy. St Elizabeth’s Hospital is grateful that Anita ma’am has become an irreplaceable part of our lives”.

We wish Dr Anita Garware good health and a long life!


By Editorial Committee of “The Voice of Malabar Hills”